There’s been a bit of flack surrounding the previews on JK Rowling’s Pottermore website regarding “magical” North American history, specifically in the way it includes Native American culture. If you weren’t aware, this is all advertisement for the new Harry Potter film entitled Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them arriving in theaters November 2016; the Pottermore website has published four installments of the abbreviated “History of Magic in North America.” While there are many issues pointed out by various news outlets, this is the one that hurts the most and that I’m most familiar with.
The Problem With Magic Folk
“So what?” people post online. “It’s fiction. She can make up whatever she wants.” None of this is real, so who does it hurt? The actual people, for one thing. Native Americans are real people with a real culture; they haven’t died out or ceased to exist. It’s not just one culture, either; there are currently 562 federally recognized Indian Nations (source: ncai.org), and their uniqueness is hanging on in spite of centuries spent actively destroying it. No, not just the English colonists; the French and Spanish both had equal hands in it.
In Hollywood, there has long existed a trope of “the helpful Indian who appears from nowhere,” so clearly they must be magical. Think Peter Pan and The Lone Ranger; help is needed, the indigenous mystics appear, do their thing, then conveniently disappear. It’s a plot device: deus ex shamana. Like faeries, trolls, and goblins, the truth can be lost to legend. Using Britain’s own fables as an example, there were reportedly a dozen Robin Hoods who all became one man, and King Arthur’s stories can be traced to several individuals who were embellishment through oral tradition.
Native Americans do exist and want to keep their cultures and traditions alive. Learn about it all you like and tell others, but embellishing the facts — changing them — and attributing details to all tribes as a whole dilutes its uniqueness. Like a game of telephone, the truth is being lost because the details are wrong.
Continue reading “The Matriarch, Harry Potter, and Native Appropriations”
Kindle: $8.50 † Paperback: $16.95
Supernatural horror thriller, mature content, 264 pages.
Written by Kevin A. Ranson – Published by WTF Books
Third book in the series – ISBN: 978-0692220696
A vampire must be invited in to do harm.
† Read the excerpt “Ed’s Awakening” † Read the excerpt “Another Hidden Monster” † Read the excerpt “Early to Rise” † Read the excerpt “The Vampire in the Back of the Room” †
“Throughout American history , every major conflict has been due to either a misunderstanding between parties or a failure to live up to a promise – and needless bloodshed was always the result.”
And bloodshed was something with which Janiss Connelly was all too familiar, either by her own or someone else’s hand. Friends. Lovers. Enemies. But as the administrator of Cedarcrest Sanctum, it was a necessary evil: keeping the facility’s residents safe – and, thanks to infusions of her vampiric blood, alive – was both her responsibility and mission.
It is a mission that is jeopardized by a very old – and private – vampire living and working as a college professor in Charleston, West Virginia. Janiss visits to determine her undead “neighbor’s” true intentions, only to find that she and Cedarcrest are on the professor’s “syllabus.” Left with no choice, the administrator must become the student and ask her own hated teacher for the deadly tutelage she needs to rescue the Sanctum.
In The Matriarch: Changeling, Janiss will learn that friends and enemies are never who they seem to be – a lesson that must be paid in blood.
Discount pre-sale on Kindle has begun for the book release this Friday June 10, 2105; get ’em while they’re hot and spread the word! Thank you for your patronage of Cedarcrest Sanctum.
A vampire must be invited in to do harm.
“Wary of a future misunderstanding, Janiss Connelly pays a surprise visit to an immortal residing in the state capital of West Virginia. The Charleston vampire isn’t amused, a slight that puts the residents and staff of Cedarcrest Sanctum at risk when their administrator goes missing.
“Forced to endure a nightmare scenario, Janiss must embrace the potential she has both envied and feared – even if she has to make a deal with the Devil to do it.”
Learn more about The Matriarch at CedarcrestSanctum.com.
As the third book enters the final phase before publication, the official title has been revealed:
The Matriarch: Changeling
A Facebook event will be take place on Friday, February 13th, 2015 along with a contest to win one of three signed softcover copies of the new book upon publication.
Join us there for a bit of fun, a few excerpts and trivia about the series!
Some of you may be aware of the Vampire Community, not just fans of the genre who embrace the lifestyle but those who believe themselves to be actual vampires. Psychic vampires absolutely exist, stealing your energy or lending it with their very presence, but I’m not talking about (to quote Ian from The Matriarch) “a mystically animated corpse that imitates the living so (it) can feed off of it.” Do they exist? I hope not – both for my sake and their own – because if they ever find out I created their world and inflicted them with their condition, I wholly expect them to be rather pissed off at me.
What I am saying is this: as a fiction writer, I do not believe what I create is real anywhere but on the page. These characters exist in my mind and that is what I share, and there are things I write about I wouldn’t wish on anyone…but, alas, such atrocities make for interesting storytelling.
I also don’t hate anyone calling themselves a vampire, but like an organized religion, there are a FEW who take it upon themselves to wage a personal crusade to say “yours isn’t real because *I* am real.” The Bard’s phrase “the lady doth protest too much” fully applies here with the same level of annoyance as believers knocking on your door Saturday morning to tell you “the good news” about our Lord and Savior (we all have our little illusions; far be it from me to take away yours).
Finally, we all wear masks, and the first step in any personal change is to act the part; it isn’t a far stretch of the imagination to think the human mind can convince itself of anything (Nic Cage’s “Vampire’s Kiss” comes to mind as an example) until the mask becomes the truth. All of this said, however, no vampire character I have ever created would log onto a social network expressly for the purpose of convincing the world that they’re real; it is far more likely they’ll deny everything and smile at the ones screaming in all caps across the internet.
Whether you love or hate the Bard…or vampires.
When I expanded my stand-alone vampire novel into a book series, it required me to re-envision the first novel as “part one” to create a story progression (don’t you hate when a great story falls apart at the end?) I tried to think of The Matriarch as a trilogy, but it was going to take four books to get to the ending I wanted and wrap everything up with a bow.
This meant each self-contained novel – intended to be enjoyable unto itself – had to seed the entire arc to show the main character progression, especially in her capabilities and the challenges she would have to overcome. Those knowing the story line of my current work in progress, the untitled third, have dubbed it “Shakespearean” in reference to characters withholding critical information that escalates the situation. The Matriarch: Guardians did this, too, but to a much smaller degree.
It’s a classic and flexible trope: if Boy-X would have just told Girl-Y about Suitor-3, Villain-Z wouldn’t have tried to kill Girl-Y over the perceived slight from Boy-X. Then there’s my favorite: the character who knows everybody’s secrets but keeps them to manipulate others and/or just enjoy the show. If we would all just learn to talk to one another, we wouldn’t have to go around threatening to kill everyone…I know, I know: where’s the fun in that?
The first draft of The Matriarch III is nearly complete! I credit Linda S. Cowden with the title of this post; I love my wife!